I had a conversation today with a male friend (well, an online chat, actually) about how men and women are very different creatures and how we are supposed to complement one another. That made me think about all that I have learned about men over the past 5 years or so, both through reading books and through observing the men I know.
Something I have read and observed repeatedly is that men have two primary purposes that they feel compelled to fulfill. Most authors list more, but these two seem to show up repeatedly and I have seen them in action myself. Those two driving forces seem to the the desire to provide and the desire to protect.
I wonder, though, how exactly do these forces work? Is a man driven to provide just for his own wife and children, or are most men driven to also provide for their extended family, friends, their church, etc? Likewise, is a man driven to protect only his own wife and children, or in the case of a single man, for instance, is there a generic drive to protect those who are smaller or weaker?
I have a friend who seems to enjoy "providing" for me by helping with jobs I need to have done, but don't have the strength or know-how to do myself, or the financial resources to pay someone to do. He also seems to want to protect me. For instance, when he knew my ex-husband was going to be picking up my kids last month, he asked me if I would like him to be there with me for the pick-up, or if I felt safe on my own. The other night, when he picked up his son from my house, he told my son, "Take good care of your mom!"
So I am left wondering, am I doing this man a favor by letting him provide and protect, since he doesn't have a wife to do that for at this point? Or should I protest when he does this?
My instinct (something women seem to have more of than men, in general) says I should let him know how much I appreciate being the focus of his drive to provide and protect in these instances.
What do you think?